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Jacob Keim Farmstead

We are at the Jacob Keim Homestead in Berks County, today where my ancestors first built and lived in the New World, first deeded property in the Oley Valley. 10 generations of Yoders have lived in Berks County since.

First generation: Johannes Keim, He purchased land at the headwaters of the Manatawny, in the Oley Valley and then returned to Germany for nine years before finally returning to the valley in 1706. Johannes KEIM and Maria Elizabeth BOLLER were married on 1 January 1731. Had six children, including Maria Catherina KEIM

Second generation: Maria Catherina KEIM and Jacob K. YODER were married about 1754. Jacob K. YODER, son of Yost JODER and Elizabeth KUHLEWEIN, was born in November 1734 in Berks County, PA. He died in 1803 at the age of 69 in Berks County, PA. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. They had twelve children, including

3rd Johannes Keim YODER and Fronica EMERICH

4th Johannes E. YODER and Magdalena BREYFOGEL

5th George B. YODER and Catharine Mary DELP

6th William Daniel YODER and Anna May BARTO

7th Maurice Barto YODER and Ella U. MEYNER

8th Dr. Robert M. YODER Sr and Virginia E. RUSSELL.

9th Hunter M. YODER and Rachel HERRING

10th his seven children

Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County

Oley Valley Genealogy/ Keim

Before recorded history, a family settled in a natural fortress on the Emme River in Switzerland. Over time, this place was named Joderhuebel, which means ?hill of Joder?. The ?Joder? part refers to the patron saint and first Roman Catholic Bishop of Sion (present day Martingny, Switzerland) known as St. Theodorus. His original name, Theodorus, has been evolved and shortened over time, from Tjordorus, to Tjoder, to, finally, Joder. Thus, you get the ?Joder? in the name of the hill which was named for him.

The resident family of Joderhuebel eventually adopted the name of their home as a family name, until, finally, it was officially recorded as the surname for baby Peter Joder in 1260. His wife was Veronica, and they produced Caspar and Ulli Joder. Caspar had a son, Ulli Joder, born in about 1340, who moved from Joderhuebel to Steffisburg.

He had a son, Heinrich, born in 1363. Heinrich had four children, and his son, Jost, born at around 1387, fathered another Caspar Joder, who had one son, Balthasar, born in 1525. In 1531, a Heini Joder was imprisoned at Basel for spreading Anabaptist doctrine. Balthasar?s son, born in 1548, was Caspar Joder. Caspar Joder married Margareth Moser, and together they produced Paul Joder (1571) and Caspar Joder (unknown). [Note: Paul married Veronica Hanning, and they had one son, Kaspar Joder, in 1592. He married Margaret Erb, and their descendants are still the Joders of Steffisburg today]. Caspar Joder married Margaret Henning and had two children, Jost Joder (1607) and Niclaus Joder (1609). Niclaus had two sons, Caspar (1648) and Adam Joder (1650). Adam had three sons, two of whom were the notable Hans and Jost Joder.

Hans and Jost fled from Steffisburg to the Oley Valley of Pennsylvania due to religious persecution. It is said that the one thing they brought with them was a family-inherited bible, supposedly printed in Mainz in 1530 during the time of Martin Luther. Hans brought his wife, Veronica Eschlinmann, and their 1-year old child, Anna Regina. Both likely died during the voyage.

The two brothers lived in the wilderness of Pennsylvania before buying vast flatlands among the Native Americans along the Manatawny River of the Blue Mountains? Valley. When laying claim to his land, Jost supposedly chose not to claim a nearby spring, instead wishing to share it with future neighbor settlers. In 1711, Hans remarried to Anna RosinaLeeDez (daughter of Huguenot Jean LeeDez, who had accompanied Hans and Jost to America). Meanwhile, Jost Joder became married to Catherine Kuhlewein (it is unsure whether before or after entering America). They had 3 sons (Johann, Jakob, and Samuel) and 1 daughter. Johann had the nickname of Joscht-Hannes, which did not please him at all. Jakob had his farm on the other side of the Schuylkill river, and Samuel had his farm near Iobachsville.

A few years after Hans and Jost left Steffisburg, the Joder couple of Hans and Christina Moser followed suite, settling near their relatives. In 1712 they gave birth to Jakob ?Strong? Yoder, who was well known for being, apparently, ?the strongest man in America?. He is fondly remembered by his descendants for his notable strength.

In 1713, Hans and Jost founded the small settlement of Yodersville (which later became a larger township due to immigration from the Frankenthal Eppstein -Lambsheim -Oggersheim-Mutterstadt district of the Pfalz). One of the residents of Yodersville was Daniel A. Yoder, who owned a distillery and liquor factory.

Jost Joder is said to have had considerable capabilities as an inventor of mechanical devices. He manufactured axes, scythes, plows,firearms, and many other things which the pioneers needed urgently. He also loved to hunt and drink rum, and was generous with it. The plentiful rum attracted the attention of the nearby Native Americans, and they called it ?fire water?. Soon they visited his log cabin on a daily basis to partake.

Jost and his son ?Joscht-Hannes? Johannes were passionate hunters and fur-trappers. Jost made annual autumn hunting trips in the blue mountains, which often kept him away from home for weeks at a time. He blazed his own trails through the primeval forest, accompanied only by his dog and his musket. On his route he had several caches in hollow tree trunk skin which he often left provisions from one year to the next.

It is said that wolves often attacked Jost?s herds. One story goes that, although Jost was an excellent hunter, he struggled against these wolves, and concocted a plan to annihilate them. Next to one of their trails, he dug a pit nearly eight feet deep. In the middle of the pit he laid out mutton and then covered the pit with branches. The wolves, attracted by the smell of their favorite food, fell into the pit, and in this way he trapped five wolves in one night. Later he was supposedly able to rid the entire neighborhood of the wolves? plague, likely using this same method.

Jost is said to have been a rather rough-mannered individual. His name was synonymous with boorishness, as was his sons? nickname, Joscht-Hannes (likely why the nickname was so disliked by him). Jost apparently enjoyed making jokes at the expense of the Native Americans, and once, as his native neighbors held a wedding celebration nearby, he is said to have had snuck up on them and attacked, unprovoked, with a hickory branch for ?fun?. In the same vein of this violent boorishness, he devoted himself to athletic games and sports (with a ?graceless? manner, it is said) and was said to be of remarkable health, same as his children, who all lived long lives.

Hans Yoder died on his farm in 1742 in either Yodersville or Pleasantville, leaving behind four sons (Hans, Samuel, Daniel, and Peter). A few years later, Johannes Yoder, son of Jost, married Catherine Lescher. They had nine children, one of whom was the notable Jacob Yoder. In 1754, at age 20, Jacob Yoder married Maria Catherina Keim.


Maria Catherina?s mother had been Maria Elizabeth, and her father had been Johannes Keim. Johannes Keim had petitioned for the Oley Valley township in 1720. His older sister, Katarina D. Keim, had been the first child ever of European ancestry to be born in Oley.

Johannes and Katarina Keim?s parents had been Johannes Keim and Katarina Deturk, both natives of Germany (Lindau, Bavaria). They had married in Germany in 1701, then moved to America in 1706. Johannes had already been there once before in his life. Born in Lindau, it is believed that Johannes had a carpentry business before and/or during the invasion of the Reformed States by the French. Once the Treaty of Ryswick (1697) had been signed and peace had returned, Johannes left Germany in 1698 to take a prospective tour of Pennsylvania. He stayed a few years before returning to Germany and meeting his bride.

This Johannes Keim, while born and raised in Germany, belonged to a family which had shortly before his birth lived in France as Norman Huguenots. Before they lived in France and converted to Protestantism, the Keim family had lived in England for centuries. Their home had been in Lincolnshire, somewhere near North or South Kyme. This is where the surname Keim (spelled Kyme while living in England) came from. The family adopted the Kyme name over time due to their representation of the area, and of Lincolnshire within Parliament. They had held the family seat as Lords of the Manor of Kestevan (this later become known as the Honour of Kymes). Sir William is said to have officially founded the Kyme family, becoming notable by helping to found the Priory of Bolinton monastery in 1135. The first person to be officially recorded with the surname Kyme was Sir Philip de Kyme. He was the 1st Baron Kyme, Lord of the Manor, and was summoned to Parliament in 1295-1313 to represent Lincolnshire. His son, Sir William de Kyme, became the 2nd Baron Kyme. His sister, Lucy, married into the Umfreville family via Robert de Umfreville, 9th Earl of Angus. Their son, Gilbert de Umfreville, became the 10th Earl of Angus.

But the Kymes were not originally from England. Directly following the Norman Conquest of 1066, flocks of immigrants from Normandy (a region of Northern France) moved to England to settle in their newly conquered land. The family which would later be called ?Kyme? was no exception, and this family most certainly resided in Normandy for an unknown number of generations. Though Normandy lies within France, the Normans who lived there were not of French blood. They had originally been Vikings of Scandinavia. The Norman ?Kyme? family most certainly resided in Scandinavia as, likely, racial/ethnic Scandinavians. Following the waves of more bold and destructive Viking raids in more Southern regions such as France, the Vikings decided to settle. The region of Northern France they took over and named Normandy (after the term ?Norseman?, which outsiders had named them due to their origins in the North of the continent) became a prosperous country of Viking descendants whose culture was a unique mixture of the German Franks they had always traded with, and the (formerly) Roman-controlled region of Gaul (which includes France).

That is where my knowledge of the ancestors of the Keim line ends.

And thus, with the marriage of Jacob Yoder and Maria Catherina Keim, the Keim and Yoder lines became joint.


Both Jacob and Maria Catherina were 20 when they wed. Two years later, Jacob enlisted in the American army. He served as a saddler from ages 22-25, then during the American Revolution served as a private in Captain Peter Nague and Captain Charles Gobin?s companies (6th Battalion, Berks County Militia) His tasks during the war included guarding captured Hessian war prisoners at the Hessian Camp in Reading, Pennsylvania. Over the course of their marriage, Maria Catherine and Jacob had 7 daughters (Elizabeth, Barbara, Susanna, Magdalena, Catherine, Esther, and Mary) and 6 sons (Daniel, Peter, Johannes, Abraham, and Jacob). While Jacob was home, he and at least one of his sons worked as tanners.

Their 6th son, Johannes Keim Yoder, married 22-year old Fronica Emerich in 1788 when he was 25. They had 4 daughters (Hannah, Maria, Catherine, and Christina) and 4 sons (Jacob, Johannes E., Abraham, and David). At age 63, Fronica died. 23 years later, at age 84, Johannes died.

At age 33, their fourth child, Johannes E., married 22-year old Magdalena Breyfogel in 1827. They had 5 sons (Solomon, John, George, Obediah, and Cyrus) and 7 daughters (Elizabeth, Esther, Mary Ann, Charity Ann, Senecca, Catherine Alice, and Hannah Matilda). Johannes died at age 59 in 1854 while Magdalena was still 39. She later died at age 62.

Their fourth child was George Yoder, who married Catherine Mary Delp in 1854. They were both 20. They moved to Dryville, Pennsylvania where George worked as a horse dealer until he was 58. Then he purchased the Dryville Hotel. At some point he came into a 36-acre farm and became a Knight of Phythias of Fleetwood. In 1900, at age 65, he died, leaving behind 4 sons (Daniel, George Cyrus, William Daniel, and John) and 8 daughters (Charity, Sarah, Amanda, Mary, Catherine ?Kate?, Alice, Clara, and Annie). 17 years later, Catherine died at age 82.

Their seventh child was William Daniel Yoder. At age 19, he married 16-year old Anna May Barto. They had five children, 2 sons (Harry and Maurice Barto) and 3 daughters (Lillie, Ida Florence, and Mabel) before Anna died in 1903 at age 34. 24 years later, William died at the National Stomach Hospital of Philadelphia at age 60.

Their third child was Maurice Barto Yoder. At age 23, he married 26-year old Ella U. Meyner. Together they had 1 daughter, Elizabeth Mae (?Betty?) and 1 son, Robert Maurice. Maurice died at age 66 in 1961, and Ella died 3 years later at age 72. Betty became famous for growing, drying, and arranging her own flowers, and her work was shown in galleries and colleges nearby. Robert fought in WWII and then the Korean War. Later he worked as a dentist in Kutztown for 35 years, married to Virginia E. Russell. They had 4 sons (Russell, Robert - also a dentist - , Hunter Maurice, & Samuel - a veterinarian) and 1 daughter, Jennifer.

Hunter M. attended art school in Kutztown in the 1970?s before moving to New York City. He married his first wife there and had 2 sons, Klaus and Todd Yoder. Later, in his 30?s, he met 25-year old Cassia R. Filoco (who became a nurse) of Sao Paolo, Brazil, in New York City and married her, producing 2 daughters, Erika R. and Brigitte A. Yoder (born in Brooklyn in 1993 and 1996). During the 2010?s, while he was in his 50?s, he moved to Philadelphia and opened an art gallery in his home, becoming a notable artist within the Pennsylvania Deutsch-origin Hex art community. He married a fellow artist, 32-year old Rachel Fisher Davies(who, same as Hunter Yoder, is also directly descended from the settlers of Oley Valley), who worked as an art teacher. Together they produced 1 daughter, Henrietta Grace, and 1 son, Hunter William Yoder, both born in Philadelphia between in the early 2010?s.

        Klaus and Todd Yoder grew up in Pennsylvania. Todd became an agricultural genetic engineer within the state, and Klaus studied Philosophy at Harvard on full scholarship. Erika and Brigitte Yoder grew up in New York City.

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